Americans believe that Russia paid Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers
Washington, DC, July 17, 2020 – A recent Reuters/Ipsos survey finds that a majority of Americans believe Russia had previously paid bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. While there is no consensus on whether President Trump was aware of these allegations, a majority disapprove of his handling of Russian relations and believe that economic sanctions on Moscow are the most appropriate consequences.
Americans are divided on if President Trump was aware of these reports before they were leaked by the press. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say that Trump did know that Russia was paying Taliban members to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan while 26% say that he did not. Additionally, 34% are unsure.
- Sixty percent of Americans find the allegations that Russia was paying Taliban members to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan “very” or “somewhat” believable. Democrats (74%) are more inclined to believe the reports than Republicans (53%) or independents (52%).
- Democrats are far more likely to believe that Trump was aware of the bounties (66%) compared to both independents (30%) and Republicans (14%).
Half of all Americans (52%) disapprove of the way Trump is handling relations with Russia. This is largely driven by partisan divisions, as 80% of Democrats disapprove while only 20% of Republicans share the same sentiment.
- A quarter of Americans (24%) believe Vladimir Putin is an imminent threat to the U.S.
- A majority (54%) support punishing Russia through sanctions intended to hurt the Russian economy. Far less are in support of punishing Russia through a military strike on assets (9%) or letting it go in the interest of improving relations between the U.S. and Russia (9%). Twenty-nine percent are not sure what the U.S. should do.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 6-7, 2020 on behalf of Thomson Reuters. For this survey, a sample of 1,114 Americans age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 476 Democrats, 437 Republicans and 115 independents. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. The poll also has a credibility interval ± 5.1 percentage points for Democrats, ± 5.3 percentage points for Republicans, and ± 10.4 percentage points for independents.
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